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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Astronauts scramble for escape pods as space junk threat gets serious

• http://www.csmonitor.com
 The six earthlings – three Russians, two Americans, and a Dutchman – aboard the International Space Station were stirred from their slumber Saturday morning to jump into emergency escape pods, once again drawing into focus the growing dangers of hurtling space junk.
 

The astronauts, orbiting 200 miles above the planet, were told by ground control to scramble into two docked Soyuz spacecrafts in case a piece of a wrecked Russian satellite should smash into the ISS, which could have heavily damaged the platform as both objects were traveling at orbital speeds – 17,500 miles per hour. The emergency was called off after the chunk passed by at an approximate distance of nine miles – which in space terms is a near-miss.

"Everything went by the book and as expected, the small piece of cosmos satellite debris passed the international space station without incident,” said a NASA spokesman.

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